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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sammy: Swift's Space Fleet Cadet - Stripography

Compiled by Jeremy Briggs

SAMMY IN SPACE (STORY 1)           
16 pages: 9 February – 11 May 1957

Arriving on the Moon Colony, Sammy is shown around by his cousin Jill. Between them they fix Jill’s rocket car and take it outside for a test run. However they have installed a new more powerful engine in it and have to break the throttle control to make the engine stop. Floating in space to make the necessary repairs they see the distress signal of another spaceship which has been damaged by an astral storm. Boarding the ship they discover that it has been split in two by the storm and that while the pilot is alive in the nose section there is a passenger trapped in the separated stern. Sammy flies the rocket car to the stern to retrieve the passenger, Mr Rogers, and then attaches a tow line to the nose of the ship and tows it to a safe landing on the Moon’s surface where they discover that Mr Rogers is actually the Governor of the Moon Colony. As a reward he allows them to keep the new engine in the rocket car.

15 pages: 18 May – 24 August 1957

Taking their rocket car out of a run to the dark side of the Moon, Sammy and Jill discover that the vehicle is being drawn down into an underground cavern. Trying to find a tunnel to the surface, they discover a Moon animal that appears to be a cross between a cat and a sea-lion. Following it, they soon come across an alien boy called Dimple who lives in the underground City Of Moon Dimps. In the City they meet the Moon Dimps elders who show Sammy and Jill that there is air in their city and that they can remove their space helmets. Suddenly there is a flood warning and the Moon Dimps race for high ground while the cousins race back to their rocket car. The flood carries the rocket car back to the underground city where they discover that Dimple has been lost in the flood. Taking Dimple’s animal Flap with them, they fly the rocket car over the flood and as Flap dives into the water, they are just in time to save Dimple from a whirlpool and make it back to the Moon’s surface. There they take Dimple and Flap back to the Moon Colony to prove the existence of the underground city and the Moon Dimps to Governor Rogers.

15 pages    : 31 August – 27 November 1957

Realising that the problems the Moon Colony has been having with their spaceship engines may be due to the power crystals in the Moon Dimps’ city, Governor Rogers leads a ground expedition to locate the underground city. Arriving in the city they find it deserted and as they look around they are caught by a moonquake which opens a chasm between the cousins and the rest of the group. The quake has also caused a herd of Moon Cattle to stampede towards the rest of the group but Sammy and Jill are able to scare them off by using the rocket car. Investigating further they discover that the Dimps have taken refuge from the quake in a smaller cave, the entrance to which has collapsed trapping them all. The cousins rescue the Dimps, but the Dimps will not help them search for the rest of their group who have fallen into a deep pit. Jill convinces them to help as Dimple is in the pit as well and everyone is rescued. As a reward for their bravery, Governor Rogers announces that they are to go to Space Cadet School at Earth Space Fleet Headquarters.

10 pages    : 4 December 1957 – 15 February 1958

In the Space Cadet School on Earth, Sammy and Jill’s class is being taken by the famous test pilot Captain Ace Silver. Having left a book behind in the classroom, Sammy returns to discover Ace Silver unconscious and being kidnapped by two masked men who load him in a helijet and take off. They have no luck searching for the helijet in their rocket car so Sammy and Jill return to headquarters to report everything to the Duty Officer. There they are amazed to see Ace Silver acting as if nothing has happened, but Sammy soon realizes that it is not the real Ace Silver who is due to fly the new secret XL2 space ship the next day. The cousins confront the fake Silver who threatens the life of the real Silver if they give him away before he steals the space ship. Using a map that the fake Silver dropped, the cousins fly to the gang’s hideout and free the real Silver who returns in the helijet just in time to prevent the fake Silver taking off in the XL2. As a reward Captain Ace Silver invites Sammy and Jill to come with him on his tour of duty at the naval base.

10 pages    : 22 February – 26 April 1958

Arriving at the naval base in their rocket car, Sammy and Jill are in time to hear of a dangerous convict who has escaped from the nearby Black Rock prison. Using the rocket car, the cousins scout the area and stop to help a police man in a broken down police jepeet. He steels all their extra fuel and, as they try to stop him, he drives the jepeet into the rocket car. Realising that the police officer is actually the convict in disguise, they search for him but are both captured and tied up by him as he tries to make his getaway in a submarine. Escaping their bonds, they take the rocket car out over the water after the submarine but in their haste the canopy flies open, Jill falls into the water and is recaptured by the convict who pulls her into the submarine. Diving the rocket car into the sea after the submarine, they all realize that the submarine cannot get out to sea because of the anti-submarine nets and the convict surfaces giving Jill the chance to escape. Swimming after Jill in the water, the convict is captured by a net hanging from Ace Silver’s helijet and the convict is once again taken into custody.

10 pages: 3 May – 5 July 1958

During a space test flight of their rocket car, the cousins see an explosion happen on a nearby spaceship and go aboard to investigate only to discover that it is empty. They are joined by Captain Ace Silver from the XL2 and unable to contact HQ he sends Sammy off in the rocket car to report to HQ while he takes Jill on the XL2 to search the area. Sammy is intercepted by a fleet of small black ships and is captured by them before the ships find the XL2 and capture it as well. Taking their prisoners to their base ship, the space bandits take Silver and the cousins at gun point to their chief who orders them to be locked up. Escaping from the brig, Silver goes to disable the bandits’ ships while the cousins head for XL2. Unable to get into the XL2 they steal one of the bandits’ black ships but are forced back to the base ship where they escape again using the rocket car as Silver escapes in the XL2. Using the XL2’s engines Silver sets the base ship on fire and forces the bandits to fly it to HQ where they are captured.

10 pages: 12 July – 22 November 1958

The supplies officer of Space Fleet HQ asks Sammy and Jill to deliver a package to No2 Research Station, a space station on which Major Anson works alone testing equipment after the rocket fuel scientist Professor Summers had died. Arriving on the station they find no sign of Major Anson but see an unknown alien just as he escapes in a spaceship. Major Anson then lands on the station and when they tell him of the alien, he tells them that he will report it to HQ. In the meantime Sammy realizes that the alien was an Urano from Uranus but when he goes to tell Major Anson he discovers that the Major has taken off in his spaceship and rendezvoused with the Urano ship. Before he returns, the cousins discover a laboratory on the station and realize that the Major has been manufacturing the Professor’s new rocket fuel for the Uranos in return for gold. The Major discovers the children and locks them up with the intention of imprisoning them on Uranus. However they escape and make it to the station’s radio room where they radio Space Fleet HQ who send a rescue squadron to detain the Major.

10 pages    : 20 September – 22 November 1958

It is Sammy’s birthday and Dimple on the Moon has sent him his pet Flap as a present. The children are introduced to a new cadet Tony Brent who’s father has disappeared on a Space Fleet expedition to the planet Ceres. To cheer Tony up they have a race around HQ in their spaceships but Tony takes his S.3 ship and flies to Ceres with Sammy, Jill and Flap in the rocket car following him. Landing on the planet they find that it has lush swampy vegetation and pteradon-like birds. Tony finds a carved stick with his father’s initials on it but while they sleep Flap gets lost on an island in the swamp. The next morning Sammy makes it to the island and discovers the injured Captain Brent who has been awaiting a rescue party. Making it back to dry land, Sammy flies the rocket car to the island where he rescues Captain Brent and they all return safely to Earth.

12 pages: 29 November 1958 – 14 February 1959

Captain Ace Silver has entered the International Space Race but on the way to the starting satellite the engine of his racing ship fails. Sammy and Jill rescue him using the rocket car and when they land on the satellite they are met by the arrogant Speer Milano who intends to win the race. Returning to Earth for a spare part to fix Silver’s ship, the cousins go to the rescue of Milano whom they think has crashed. However it is actually a plot to disable their rocket car and stop them getting the spare part to fix Silver’s ship. Repairing the rocket car they discover that the factory that has the part is on fire but Sammy is able to retrieve the part they need. However as they take off they are again harassed by Milano in his ship as he tries to make them crash but they make it safely to the satellite where Milano chases them to get the part. During the melee Milano falls overboard and has to be rescued by Sammy after which he confesses his actions to Ace Silver. However the spare part cannot be used as Silver’s racing ship has been damaged by a meteorite and Silver then decides that Sammy should take his place in the race using the rocket car. Sammy wins the race and the cup for Space Fleet Headquarters.

13 pages: 21 February – 16 May 1959

Sammy and Jill are fishing with Flap from the floating rocket car when they see a fright rocket crash into the sea. Sammy dives into the sea but is unable to locate the wreck so they return to headquarters where they report the crash location to the Duty Officer. He tells them that there have been technical problems with the new rockets. In the plotting room Sammy discovers that all the crashed rockets have been on the same route and so the cousins take the rocket car up to rendezvous with the next rocket traveling along that route. They board the rocket before it crashes into the sea and watch from a porthole as the rocket maneuvers into an undersea cavern. In the cavern the cousins hide as men unload the freight from the rocket and soon discover that the men have a remote system for controlling the unmanned rockets. The cousins’ escape from the cavern in the rocket car but the men use the remote control on the rocket car and Sammy and Jill are forced to land at an old smelting works. There they discover that the stolen rockets are being melted down by Mr Brennor of the Space Metal Company. They escape in the rocket car having gotten word to Space Fleet Headquarters but the remote control forces them back into the cavern where the men hold Sammy and Jill at gun point until Space Fleet police arrive and free them.

8 pages: 23 May – 29 August 1959

Sammy and Jill decide to take their school holiday on the Mediterranean island of Dinor. Landing at the Dinor spaceport, Flap runs off and causes a taxiing spaceship to crash just as President Mikard of Dinor arrives for an inspection. He orders the children to his office where he forgives them and asks them to help him find a boy called Greego. Greego’s uncle was killed in an accident that he blames the President for and is forming the island’s children into rebel gangs. As the cousins leave for their hotel the president has them followed, however a boy called Ferdi has also been watching them and he gets a gang of children to attack them. Recovering from the attack in their hotel that night, they find a message telling them to leave before it is too late.  Searching the hotel they discover Ferdi stealing food and, as he leaves, they see one of the President’s men about to kill him. They knock out the man and help Ferdi escape with them in the rocket car as the man comes around again and shoots at the flying car. Ferdi turns out to be Greego and he tells them that it was the President who shot his uncle in an argument over the gold mine that Greego takes them to. The President and armed guards appear at the mine and begin shooting at the children who are rescued by locals after which the President is imprisoned and the gold mine turned over to the people of Dinor.


In addition to the weekly comic there were 9 Swift annuals which included three Sammy And His Speedsub stories in the second, third and fourth annuals and three Sammy In Space stories, each of which lasted four pages, in the fifth, sixth and seventh annuals.

In the Sammy In Space story in Swift annual 5 (published in 1958 and hence the annual for 1959) Sammy and Jill discover during their visit to the partially complete Satellite B, that the damage to the station was being caused by escaped monkeys which were been used to test new space suit designs.

In Sammy And The Secret Explosive in Swift Annual 6 (published in 1959) Space Fleet HQ is evacuated when explosive primed to go off in 30 minutes goes missing. Jill is trapped in an out of control rocket but when Sammy reaches it they discover the explosive just in time to deactivate it. Returning to HQ they discover the men who stole the explosive and force them to surrender to the authorities.

In Sammy And The Turret Light in Swift Annual 7 (published in 1960) Sammy and Jill visit Sammy’s friend Tommy Hunting who wants to join the Space Cadets. At the Hunting’s farm they notice a light in the turret of the farm’s ruined castle. When they investigate they discover that the man who has been trying to buy the castle has been excavating in the tower and discovered forgotten jewels. The cousins trap him before he can buy the castle.

(The original version of this article appeared in Eagle Times, Volume 24 Number 1, Spring 2011 and Volume 24 Number 2, Summer 2011.)

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